First Nations People and Chronic Kidney Disease

The following is from the Kidney Foundation of Canada website. Further below is an article from the Comox Valley Record on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, describing an initiative to explore the high rates of kidney disease and low rates of kidney donation among the aboriginal population.

Did you know that people of Aboriginal ancestry are at higher risk than the average population for kidney disease?

According to an article published by The Pediatric Renal Outcomes Canada Group (PROCG), which includes three KRESCENT researchers, Aboriginal children with kidney failure were also less likely to receive a kidney transplant compared to white children.

To help improve prevention and detection of CKD in Aboriginal populations, The Kidney Foundation Manitoba Branch has developed an Aboriginal curriculum for primary and secondary prevention of kidney disease, including screening. And in 2010 our Saskatchewan Branch received funding to work with three First Nations communities on a project called Building Bridges, in which participants received information about chronic kidney disease (CKD) and were also screened for it.

In addition the Foundation has funded the following research related to Aboriginal People:

  • Facilitating integrated and culturally relevant health care for rural aboriginal people who undergo hemodialysis in an urban centre: an intervention development study
    Dr. Barbara Paterson, University of New Brunswick, Allied Health Research Grant 2007 – 2009
  •  A research program to study access to kidney transplantation for Aboriginal Canadians
    Dr. Karen Yeates, Queen’s University, Biomedical Fellowship 2006 – 2008
  •  Ethnocultural beliefs regarding organ donation
    Dr. Anita Molzahn, University of Victoria, Allied Health Research Grant 1999 – 2001
  • Organ donation by First Nations People
    Dr. John R. Jeffrey, Health Science Center (Manitoba), Special Award Organ Donation 1999 – 2001

– See more at:

Kidney Foundation presentation hopes to engage First Nations people regarding organ donor program

Right now, there are more than 19,000 aboriginal people in British Columbia with chronic kidney disease, and well over 100 in need of a kidney transplant. Many will die waiting.

“Every community in B.C. shares a similar story of needing more kidneys than there are available for transplant,” said Karen Philp, executive director, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, B.C. Branch.

“The research shows 95 per cent of British Columbians support the idea of donating a kidney to someone in need, but only 19 per cent are actually registered on B.C.’s organ donor registry. We want to change this story and invite the public to join the conversation.”

Philp said that when it comes to B.C.’s aboriginal population, the percentage (of registered donors) is even lower.

“We want to find out what some of the barriers are, when it comes to kidney donation in those communities,” she said.

The Courtenay Community Conversation will be held on Thursday Nov. 13 at 2 p.m., at the K’omoks Band Hall on Comox Road. Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts and experiences, as well as hear from special guest speakers and health care experts about the impact of kidney disease in the community.

Liz Hanuse and her son Victor, who received a kidney transplant from his mom in 2009, are the hosts of the Community Conversation in Courtenay.

“My son would not be here today if he didn’t have both his kidneys taken out and mine put in,” said Liz.

“By deciding to donate his kidneys for research my son was able to help the kidney disease research cause. My hope for the future is that all Nations see that each of us can make the difference in someone else’s life. Giving the gift of life and knowing that someone will have another chance is so important. I believe in paying it forward.”

Throughout the province, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, B.C. Branch, is hosting 12 Community Conversations, including this one in Courtenay, to ask people to help identify the barriers that stop people from registering as organ donors as well as the solutions to increase the number of people receiving a kidney transplant in their community.

The Kidney Foundation is committed to increasing kidney transplant rates by 50 per cent over the next five years.

This conversation is the first step towards this goal.

Members of the public can learn more and register by calling 604-736-9775 or visiting the Foundation’s website at


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